The massive $258 million round of funding Uber raised this past month is indicative of more than just the need for better taxi services. It's another sign of how mobile services can play a transformative role in our everyday lives. (See: Baby, You Can Fund My Car: Uber Drives August VC.)
In compiling the list of August funding wins, Rutberg & Co. noted that transportation app companies like Uber and Lyft are "redefining physical world services with great front-end mobile user interfaces and experiences." It's a trend that the analyst firm believes is just beginning and could spread across many other verticals. The analysts write:
- The service marketplaces are characterized by low infrastructure requirements, an open field for consumer brand creation, and a strong barrier through network effects for companies with scale. The companies are fundamentally disrupting the traditional players, ecosystems, and business models and are leveraging collaborative consumption to enable peer-to-peer services and individual personal businesses.
In a time when we have millions of mobile apps to choose from, it's rare to find one that really transforms how we interact with a business or how we complete an everyday process. Funding is not always an indicator of success, but apps like Uber, built with a mobile-first mindset and utilizing uniquely mobile features like the GPS and camera, have a lot of potential for staying power. I agree with Rutbergs that we'll also see this dynamic play out in verticals like healthcare, where the smartphone is becoming a tool for monitoring, wellness, and even diagnosis.
Wireless operators will want to keep an eye on this trend, too, because these types of transformative mobile services will showcase the power -- or shortcomings -- of their LTE networks. The combination of powerful devices, powerful networks, and powerful services will be an exciting area to watch.
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading